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Old 09-11-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
glassslipper2004
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Med ports

We are taking a Disney Med cruise next summer with stops in Nice (or the port near there), La Spezia (for Florence/Pisa), Rome, and Naples, departing from Barcelona. For those of you who have traveled to these awesome destinations, do you have any recommendations for must see places or must do activities? We have been to Rome before so don't need recs for there, unless it is for somewhere outside of Rome (can't decide if we will go to Rome or look for a different excursion, something off the beaten path).

We're also hoping to spend a few days in Mardrid, Toledo, and Barcelona before the cruise, so any suggestions for hotels, restaurants, and sights in those cites would also be welcome.

Also, if you went to these places by yourselves/not with ABD, do you recommend any other day tour companies?

We would love to do the ABD add-on but sadly it is priced out of our range (for a family of 4).

Also if anyone has a relevant trip report (Sayhello? did you go to these ports or just Venice/Greece?) I'd love to read it.

Thanks for your thoughts -
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Upcoming: August 2013 Med cruise
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
sayhello
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
We are taking a Disney Med cruise next summer with stops in Nice (or the port near there), La Spezia (for Florence/Pisa), Rome, and Naples, departing from Barcelona. For those of you who have traveled to these awesome destinations, do you have any recommendations for must see places or must do activities? We have been to Rome before so don't need recs for there, unless it is for somewhere outside of Rome (can't decide if we will go to Rome or look for a different excursion, something off the beaten path).

We're also hoping to spend a few days in Mardrid, Toledo, and Barcelona before the cruise, so any suggestions for hotels, restaurants, and sights in those cites would also be welcome.

Also, if you went to these places by yourselves/not with ABD, do you recommend any other day tour companies?

We would love to do the ABD add-on but sadly it is priced out of our range (for a family of 4).

Also if anyone has a relevant trip report (Sayhello? did you go to these ports or just Venice/Greece?) I'd love to read it.

Thanks for your thoughts -
glassslipper, I did pretty much all those ports on my Med cruise, except we did Monaco/Eze out of Villefranche, France instead of Nice. I really, really enjoyed Eze, which is a Medieval town built on a steep hill. Cool buildings, neat little shops, great view from the top!

For La Spezia, we did Florence. It's a bit of a shlep from the port to Florence, but it was worth every minute to be able to see Michelangelo's David. We could have gone to see the David, turned around and gone back to the ship, and it would have been worth it! Too fabulous for words. The Duomo in Florence is really pretty, and the shopping there is supposed to be great. (That's where I got lost, so I didn't have time to actually shop).

Naples itself was pretty meh, and not very appealing. But Naples is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento and Capri are not that far away. Beautiful! Pompeii is also in that area.

Barcelona is an amazing city. I really regretted that I didn't give myself more time in Barcelona. Between all the Gaudi sites and the Gothic quarter and Montjuc and the fabulous architecture all over town, Las Ramblas and the bustling waterfront area, there's plenty to keep you interested in Barcelona! I stayed at the Hotel Eurostars Grand Marina, which is, literally, right on the water. Walking distance to La Ramblas, and right on the Hop On, Hop Off bus route. Not too far from the port. I got a really good deal on the hotel (it's pretty pricey normally!). The rooms are really modern & very large for Europe. Either a view of the water or city views of Barcelona. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
nifferearly
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We did the Disney cruise last summer. I totally recommend romeinlimo dot com for private tours in Italy. It was about the same price for our family of 4 as doing DCL tours, but it was just our family and we could customize it as we wanted. We had an amazing day with Tony in Naples. Chose the kid-friendly option and drove the Amalfi Coast, and went to pizza making school in Italy. It was such a perfect day! We also had a great tour with them in Rome.

We did not go to Florence because the museums were closed our day in port. We took a train to Pisa to climb the tower, which was very easy to do on our own (with some advance research). Also had a quick visit to Cinque Terre, which was beautiful. I would definitely spend a day there if I were doing the cruise again.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #4
tmmalave
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Nice

Hi Glassslipper,

I just returned from Nice, so I feel qualified to help!

You will probably be arriving at Villefranche, since I remember we were told the Nice port is not deep enough to handle the big ships.

You can visit Villefranche, Eze, Nice or Monaco from this port. Of those, I visited Nice and Monaco, and liked Nice better. The Casino in Monaco is beautiful, but a very short stop (and before 2:30 its 10 Euros to get in). The Royal Palace is pretty to walk around, but that will not take you very long, the palace itself is like 8 Euros to get in, and the audio tour lasts all of 25 minutes! It was also very hot in Monaco.

Nice has a few nice plazas, the promenade along the beach, a million Cafes, and many gelato shops. Its pretty to walk around. The beach is not sand, but pebbles, but that was not stopping people. In Nice, there is a Tourism Office along the promenade, and they sell tickets, tours and give out all kinds of information, with people fluent in several different languages. We did the Hop On Hop Off bus. It left every half hour, and the circuit lasted about 1hour 10 minutes. You can make like 10 different stops, at several museums and points of interest. I think it costs like 20 Euros for this. We liked that the commentary explained all the places we were seeing (that's how I know that big ships dock at Villefranche). In Nice we also did a one hour Segway tour. This was not narrated, but it was just dh and I, and we asked the guide tons of questions, which he was happy to answer. It was 30 Euros, but we had a Nice Pass (26 Euros for 24 hours, it included the Hop On, Hop Off, several museums and 1/2 hour Segway tour) so we only payed 12 Euros. They also have a 2 hour tour that takes to you more places.

From Villefranche you can take a bus to Nice (or Monaco). Its Bus 100 going to Monaco, and 110 I think going to Nice. I will be 1 Euro, and depending on time of day and day of week can be pretty crowded. You can also take the train, which is less frequent but faster. You will need cash to purchase the tickets.

For a comparison, a private tour in Marseille would have cost us around 400 Euros plus tickets to the attractions for 4 hours. I expect prices in Nice would have been similar, since I know in Italy they were. In Nice we toured for about 6 hours, for 38 Euros per person (for a total of 76 Euros).

I have researched an Europe cruise on DCL for quite a bit, and I know there are several good DIY reports on the boards. Im sure if you look them up, you will find great information on the other places you are interested in visiting.

TMMalave
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:55 PM   #5
abdgeek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
We are taking a Disney Med cruise next summer with stops in Nice (or the port near there), La Spezia (for Florence/Pisa), Rome, and Naples, departing from Barcelona. For those of you who have traveled to these awesome destinations, do you have any recommendations for must see places or must do activities? We have been to Rome before so don't need recs for there, unless it is for somewhere outside of Rome (can't decide if we will go to Rome or look for a different excursion, something off the beaten path).

We're also hoping to spend a few days in Mardrid, Toledo, and Barcelona before the cruise, so any suggestions for hotels, restaurants, and sights in those cites would also be welcome.

Also, if you went to these places by yourselves/not with ABD, do you recommend any other day tour companies?

We would love to do the ABD add-on but sadly it is priced out of our range (for a family of 4).

Also if anyone has a relevant trip report (Sayhello? did you go to these ports or just Venice/Greece?) I'd love to read it.

Thanks for your thoughts -
I did the ABD add-on for the 2011 Med Cruise, so I won't talk about what we did in port. However, I did spend two days in Barcelona on my own(one day before and after) the cruise.

I would recommend staying at the Renaissance Hotel(formerly AC Diplomatic). This is one of the pre-hotels and is where I stayed last time and where I'm staying next year for the Med cruise. The hotel is centrally located one block from the ritzy shopping area and the metro. There are lots of restaurants and bistros across the street and a McDonald's a block away if you need something familiar. I walked to Casa Battlo and Casa Mila(Gaudi's) which are only about a block or two away. I took a cab to the Picasso Museum and that cost about 5 euro. You can take the metro there easily.

On our cruise they cancelled one of our ports so we spent an extra day in Barcelona. This was great because I still had things on my list to do. I did an excursion to La Sagrada and Parc Guell with DCL(not ABD). La Sagrada isn't far from the hotel. Get an audio guide if you can. Otherwise, you're just looking and oohing and aahing. You can also climb the towers, but you may need a separate ticket. I thought Parc Guell was best seen with a guide. Otherwise you have no idea what you are looking at. You can access that also by metro but it is a bit of a walk from there to the site.

I did a debarkation tour of Monsterrat with DCL. Monsterrat is about an hour from Barcelona. We got there right when Mass was starting. We were only there about 2-3 hours and you have time on your own to visit. Since the choir wasn't there(they are world reknowned), I paid to go in the musuem. I then had time to eat something quick and go to the bus.

When I return this time, I plan to visit Montjuic(Spanish village, fountain, Miro museum, etc.), Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas and possibly the Dali Museum(about 2 hours away by train).

Although I have never used them, one of my friends swears by Viator for her tours. The only problem I have with them is that they don't pick you up at your hotel.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:17 PM   #6
blearbear4
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I went on the DCL to the Med last summer and my family did all of their excursions through DCL.

Our Southern France port was Cannes, and due to plane issues we missed our excursion to Monaco. But we walked around the city of Cannes, got gelato, and, as I am a cinema enthusiast, went to the Palais des Festivals where the Cannes Film Festival is held and walked the red carpet.

For La Spezia, we went to Florence. Sadly, it was a Monday, so the museums that housed David and the Birth of Venus were closed. But the Duomo was amazing and it was some of our best shopping.

Naples was my family's favorite day unanimously, mainly because of Pompeii. I highly recommend it! Hercalaneum is a similar option that I believe is smaller and more well preserved. We also went out to the island of Capri, where a highlight was the dolphins that swam alongside our hydrofoil, and had lunch in Sorrento.

In Barcelona, we mainly hit Gaudi sites. Sagarda Famillia is amazing!
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